How to Pick the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Booth Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Booth AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s important that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Booth AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially 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 dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Booth AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Booth AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such 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 vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Booth AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended 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 schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Booth AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. 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 an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Booth AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Booth AL program you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Booth AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Booth AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Booth AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Booth home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Booth AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
How Long Is Interior Design School Booth AL
Selecting the right interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in How Long Is Interior Design School and wanted more info on the topic Accredited Interior Design Programs. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Booth AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
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