How to Find an Interior Design Degree Program Cullman 35055
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Cullman AL, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s very important that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by searching for schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work in Cullman AL as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of 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 various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes in Alabama. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a Cullman designer must learn, such as lighting, color shemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in Cullman in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment in Cullman as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position in Alabama as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Cullman homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program 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 dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Cullman home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Cullman employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some states do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those states calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the program you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job in Cullman. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer in 35055. Many of Alabama interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Cullman home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Cullman, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Interior Designer Program Cullman ALPicking the right interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.