How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program Northport 35473
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Northport AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal 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 talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Northport AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Northport AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession in Northport AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required 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. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Northport AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending 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 schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Northport AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns 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 ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Northport AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Northport AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want 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 a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Northport AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Northport AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Northport AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Northport home, visit the school 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Northport AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enrolling in an Interior Design School near Northport AL?
Perhaps you are considering attending an interior design degree program in the Northport Alabama area. If so, you may find the following information about the location of your new school campus interesting and informative.
Northport is a city in Tuscaloosa County in the west central part of the State of Alabama. Located on the Black Warrior River across from downtown Tuscaloosa, it is currently the 21st largest city in Alabama with an estimated population of 24,497 in 2013. It incorporated in 1871. It is part of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area.
As Northport is adjacent to the larger city of Tuscaloosa, many residents work in Tuscaloosa or other parts of Tuscaloosa County. Although the two cities share a land boundary, much of their boundary (and historically all of the boundary) is the Black Warrior River.
As of the census of 2000, there were 19,435 people, 7,844 households, and 5,255 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,328.3 people per square mile (512.9/km²). There were 8,509 housing units at an average density of 581.6 per square mile (224.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.11% White, 26.03% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 1.02% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. 1.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Find the Right Interior Design School near Northport AL
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an initial interest in Best Interior Design Schools. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Northport AL.
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