How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course near Trussville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Trussville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the proper 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 training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 choices are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Trussville AL may 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, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Trussville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Trussville AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the 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 improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The 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", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Trussville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. 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 laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Trussville AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm 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 offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Trussville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Trussville AL program you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Trussville AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Trussville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Trussville AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Trussville home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy 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 certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Best Trussville Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Trussville Alabama.