How to Pick an Interior Design School Uniontown 36786
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Uniontown AL, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other important 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 options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work in Uniontown AL as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates 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 trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes in Alabama. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a Uniontown designer must learn, such as lighting, color shemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in Uniontown in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs in Uniontown as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job in Alabama as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish 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.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Uniontown homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Uniontown residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Uniontown employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of states do mandate 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 program. And in some of those states calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the program you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job in Uniontown. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer in 36786. Many of Alabama interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Uniontown home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 sure that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Uniontown, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Interior Design Certification Training Uniontown ALSelecting the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.