How to Find an Interior Designer Degree Program Fultondale 35068
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Fultondale AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be 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 carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by searching for schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work in Fultondale AL as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes in Alabama. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces 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 many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a Fultondale designer must learn, for example lighting, color shemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in Fultondale as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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 some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment in Fultondale as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job in Alabama as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such 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 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 normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require 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 examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Fultondale homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Fultondale residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s essential to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fultondale employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some states do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those states requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the program you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position in Fultondale. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer in 35068. Many of Alabama interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Fultondale home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fultondale, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Best Interior Designer Program Fultondale ALPicking the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for 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 field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct 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 programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.