How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Trussville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Trussville AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be 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 do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final decision. But where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business 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 work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Trussville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily 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 stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Trussville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Trussville AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered 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 furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Trussville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that 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 issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Trussville AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation 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 agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Trussville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Trussville AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Trussville AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Trussville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Trussville AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Trussville home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Trussville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Trussville Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Trussville Alabama.