How to Pick an Interior Design Program near Scottsboro Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Scottsboro AL, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s vital that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate 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 location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Scottsboro AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Scottsboro AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Scottsboro AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick 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 addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally 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 professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the convenience of their Scottsboro AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. 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 ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Scottsboro AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Scottsboro AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Scottsboro AL school you choose should also furnish the proper 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? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing 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 regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Scottsboro AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Scottsboro AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Scottsboro AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Scottsboro home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Scottsboro AL, confirm 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 protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Scottsboro AL?
Scottsboro is a city in Jackson County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 14,770. Named for its founder Robert Scott, the city is the county seat of Jackson County.
From its incorporation in 1870 until 1890, it was the largest community in Jackson County, losing the distinction from 1900 to 1920 to Bridgeport, but reclaiming the title in 1930 and holding it since that time.
It is located 30 miles each from the state boundaries of Georgia to the east (Dade County) and Tennessee to the north, about 45 miles from Huntsville, Alabama to the west and about 55 miles from Chattanooga, Tennessee to the northeast.
Select the Right Interior Design School near Scottsboro AL
Selecting the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to recieve a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Scottsboro AL.
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